LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Four former college friends serving prison time for stealing and trying to sell rare manuscripts and drawings now face longer sentences.
The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled Tuesday that a judge erred in sentencing the four men to seven years in prison for the 2004 robbery at Transylvania University.
Judge Alice Batchelder wrote that the trial judge underestimated the value of the stolen items when determining sentences for Charles Allen, Eric Borsuk, Warren Lipka and Spencer Reinhard.
The higher value of over $1 million for the five items the men took from the college library in Lexington would increase their potential sentences, the judge said. Instead of facing a minimum of seven years in prison, the four should face a minimum of nine years behind bars, Batchelder wrote.
Under the seven-year sentence, all were scheduled for release in
Allen, Borsuk, Lipka and Reinhard, all 23, pleaded guilty in 2005 to stealing rare books and plotting to sell them through Christie's, an upscale auction house in New York.
Among the items taken were sketches by naturalist John James
Audubon, a first edition of Charles Darwin's classic "On the Origin of Species," and two rare manuscripts.
The four were arrested in February 2005 after investigators traced e-mail sent to Christie's. Authorities said the men tried to sell the items before auction house officials became suspicious.
On Dec. 17, 2004, Lipka entered the special collections library
posing as "Walter Beckman." He later let Borsuk into the special collections library. Lipka used a stun pen on Betty Jean Gooch, and
then Lipka and Borsuk tied Gooch up and blindfolded her.
As they were exiting the library, they dropped some of the books
while being chased by a librarian and then ran to a van driven by Allen.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)